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Home / Drugs / Starting with E / Etidronic acid
Etidronic acid

A diphosphonate which affects calcium metabolism. It inhibits ectopic calcification and slows down bone resorption and bone turnover. [PubChem]
BrandsCintichem Technetium 99m Hedspa
Dequest 2010
Dequest 2015
Dequest Z 010
Didronel IV
Ferrofos 510
MPI Stannous Diphosphonate
Turpinal SL
CategoriesAntineoplastic Agents
Antihypocalcemic Agents
Osteoporosis Prophylactic
Bone Density Conservation Agents
ManufacturersMgi pharma inc
Procter and gamble pharmaceuticals inc sub procter and gamble co
Mylan pharmaceuticals inc
Ge healthcare
Mallinckrodt inc
PackagersGenpharm LP
MGI Pharma
Murfreesboro Pharmaceutical Nursing Supply
Norwich Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Pharmaceutical Utilization Management Program VA Inc.
Physicians Total Care Inc.
Procter & Gamble
Warner Chilcott Co. Inc.
WC Pharmaceuticals
SynonymsAcetodiphosphonic acid
Acide etidronique [INN-French]
Acido etidronico [INN-Spanish]
Acidum etidronicum [INN-Latin]
Etidronate Disodium
Hydroxyethanediphosphonic acid
Oxyethylidenediphosphonic acid


For the treatment of symptomatic Paget's disease of bone and in the prevention and treatment of heterotopic ossification following total hip replacement or due to spinal cord injury.


Etidronic acid is a first generation (non-nitrogenous) bisphosphonate in the same family as clodronate and tiludronate. Etidronic acid affects calcium metabolism and inhibits bone resorption and soft tissue calcification. Of the etidronic acid that is resorbed (from oral preparation) or infused (for intravenous drugs), about 50% is excreted unchanged by the kidney. The remainder has a very high affinity for bone tissue, and is rapidly absorbed onto the bone surface. Etidronic acid has been shown to prevent or delay skeletal-related events and decrease bone pain as well as normalize calcium levels in the presence of hypercalcemia.

mechanism of action

Bisphosphonates, when attached to bone tissue, are absorbed by osteoclasts, the bone cells that breaks down bone tissue. Although the mechanism of action of non-nitrogenous bisphosphonates has not been fully elucidated, available data suggest that they bind strongly to hydroxyapatite crystals in the bone matrix, preferentially at the sites of increased bone turnover and inhibit the formation and dissolution of the crystals. Other actions may include direct inhibition of mature osteoclast function, promotion of osteoclast apoptosis, and interference with osteoblast-mediated osteoclast activation. Etidronic acid does not interfere with bone mineralization. In malignancy-related hypercalcemia, etidronic acid decreases serum calcium by inhibiting tumour-induced bone resorption and reducing calcium flow from the resorbing bone into the blood. Etidronic acid also reduces morbidity of osteolytic bone metastases by inhibiting tumour-induced bone resorption. Etidronic acid may promote osteoclast apoptosis by competing with adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the cellular energy metabolism. The osteoclast initiates apoptosis and dies, leading to an overall decrease in the breakdown of bone.


Clinical experience with acute etidronic acid overdosage is extremely limited. Decreases in serum calcium following substantial overdosage may be expected in some patients. Signs and symptoms of hypocalcemia also may occur in some of these patients. Some patients may develop vomiting. In one event, an 18-year-old female who ingested an estimated single dose of 4800 to 6000 mg (67 to 100 mg/kg) of etidronate was reported to be mildly hypocalcemic (7 .5 2 mg/ dl) and experienced paresthesia of the fingers.


Not metabolized.


The amount of drug absorbed after an oral dose is approximately 3%.

half life

In normal subjects, plasma half-life of etidronic acid, based on non-compartmental pharmacokinetics is 1 to 6 hours.

route of elimination

Etidronate disodium is not metabolized. Within 24 hours, approximately half the absorbed dose is excreted in urine; the remainder is distributed to bone compartments from which it is slowly eliminated. Unabsorbed drug is excreted intact in the feces.

drug interactions

Aluminium: Formation of non-absorbable complexes

Calcium: Formation of non-absorbable complexes

Calcium Acetate: Calcium Salts may decrease the serum concentration of Bisphosphonate Derivatives such as etidronic acid (etidronate). Avoid administration of oral calcium supplements within 2 hours before or after tiludronate/clodronate/etidronate.

Calcium Chloride: Calcium salts may decrease the serum concentration of bisphosphonate derivatives. Avoid administration of oral calcium supplements within 2 hours before or after tiludronate/clodronate/etidronate.

Iron: Formation of non-absorbable complexes

Iron Dextran: Formation of non-absorbable complexes

Magnesium: Formation of non-absorbable complexes

Magnesium oxide: Formation of non-absorbable complexes

Sucralfate: Formation of non-absorbable complexes